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Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance

  • Cockburn, Iain M.
  • MacGarvie, Megan J.
  • Müller, Elisabeth

We examine the relationship between fragmented intellectual property (IP) rights and the innovative performance of firms, taking into consideration the role played by in-licensing of IP. We find that firms facing more fragmented IP landscapes have a higher probability of in-licensing. For firms with small patent portfolios we also find a positive association between fragmentation and licensing costs as a share of sales. We observe a negative relationship between IP fragmentation and innovative performance, but only for firms that engage in in-licensing. In contrast, greater IP fragmentation is associated with higher innovative performance for firms that do not in-license. Furthermore, the effects of fragmentation on innovation also appear to depend on the size of a firm’s patent portfolio. These results suggest that the effects of fragmentation of upstream IP rights are not uniform, and instead vary according to the characteristics of the downstream firm.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 08-101 [rev.].

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:08101r
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  1. Iain M. Cockburn & Megan MacGarvie, 2007. "Patents, Thickets, and the Financing of Early-Stage Firms: Evidence from the Software Industry," NBER Working Papers 13644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
  3. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "Exploring the patent explosion," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp291, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  4. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2009. "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 611-635.
  5. Siebert, Ralph & Graevenitz, Georg von, 2006. "How Licensing Resolves Hold-Up: Evidence from a Dynamic Panel Data Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 105, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  6. Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2001. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600412, June.
  7. Haeussler, Caroline & Harhoff, Dietmar & Müller, Elisabeth, 2009. "To Be Financed or Not... - The Role of Patents for Venture Capital Financing," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 253, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  8. Bessen, James, 2004. "Holdup and licensing of cumulative innovations with private information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 321-326, March.
  9. Bruno Cassiman & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2000. "External technology sources: Embodied or disembodied technology acquisition," Economics Working Papers 444, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  10. Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2003. "U.S. science parks: the diffusion of an innovation and its effects on the academic missions of universities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1323-1356, November.
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  14. Joshua Gans & Scott Stern, 2003. "When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit?: Evidence from the SBIR program," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 361-384.
  15. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Patent Thickets and the Market for Innovation: Evidence from Settlement of Patent Disputes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0889, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Kraft, Kornelius, 2005. "License Expenditures of Incumbents and Potential Entrants: An Empirical Analysis of Firm Behavior," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-35, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  17. A. Jorge Padilla & Damien Geradin & Anne Layne-Farrar, 2007. "Royalty Stacking In High Tech Industries: Separating Myth From Reality," Working Papers wp2007_0701, CEMFI.
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